through the park
Dedicated to my dear brother and friend
On the tenth anniversary Of his passing
OCTOBER 21, 2004
HAVING a brother
is one of the most precious gifts
one can have in life...
IT IS A gift I WILL ALWAYS cherish dearly!
Personally, I was very lucky to have been blessed with "more " than just one brother... And I will always be appreciative of just who they were and still are to me both now and then For it is in them And through them THAT I AM REMINDED OF the sincere and deep rooted love AND The strong and sturdy Yet compassionate and loving side A FAMILY CAN AFFORD TO ONE ANOTHER If they so choose.
FOR SIMPLY THAT, - I AM GRATEFUL FOR STEPHEN MICHAEL ENDRESS "ONE OF THE BROTHERS, MY FAMILY, ...MY FRIEND!
DEDICATED TO MY FAMILY "OUR FAMILY" STEPHEN'S FAMILY:
His Dearest and Dearly Loved Mother Mary (T.) His dear one Forever Jack (Who returned to Thailand after Stephen's passing) His Very Darling Sisters: Maureen Frances and Kathleen Mary Brothers Michael John and Paul(ie) Seton aka M-N All of Stephen's Very Favorite and Adored Nieces Colleen Michelle Sara, And Nephews Timothy, Vincent, Mickey and Sean Michael Grandnephews Dylan and Ryan Loving Friends Such as: PUPA (Stephen's Pet Cat) Coo May Ling (Pupa's Grandma!) Mische (Puppa's Mommy!) All of His Very Favorite Fish 9He Left Behind) Brian Murray (His Best Friend) - Passed Maelo (His Loving Friend) - Passed Marshall Sutter (Loving Friend, Father Figure, Family Friend, Professor of English at the College of Staten Island, Friend of Mary T. (too) and Paulie (AKA M-N) as well (!) - Passed the island of Leontine, Lake George, New York!!!! Danny and David (Best Friends, Family Friends - Now And Always) Angelo Benevento (Stephen's Hospice Caregiver circa 1994) (Stephen's Friend and Family Friend As Well) His Famed Harpsichord The Little Elderly Lady Stephen Befriended as His Surrogate Mom at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church - Passed All of The Pastors, Parishioners (Past and Present) and Friends as well of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (3 West 65th Street, New York City, New York) The Teacher and Students Of Hunter College School of Social Work in NYC The NYC Gay Men's Choir ALL OF STEP;HEN'S MANY, MANY FRIENDS AT THE FAMED STONEWALL CHORALE (WHO SANG SO SWEETLY AT STEPHEN'S SERVICE) THE SWEET MEMORIES OF 33 THERESA PLACE AND ALL THE FALL LEAVES THERE AT THIS TIME OF YEAR THE PRETTY PARKS OF SILVER, CLOVE AND STEPHEN'S MOST FAVORITE THAT BEING EXQUISITE CENTRAL PARK
THERESA JULIA RODZIEWICZ M-N'S MOST VERY FAVOIRITE FRIEND AND STEPHEN'S GEM!! PEGGY LEE LOVING MOTHER OF MICKEY AND SEAN MICHAEL LOVED ALWAYS! ALICEA,, LOUIS, FRED, ERIC, PAUL
AND FOR ALL THOSE LEFT BEHIND BY THIS WRITER
FORGIVE ME AS MY BROTHER WOULD
THAT SIMPLE JOURNEY DOWN THE LONG AND WINDING ROADS... OF TIME!
I leave my dwelling, naturally with water bottle in tow, my little black bag (a gift from my dear darling big sister Kathleen) nestled nicely by my side, a book, my coin purse; my forever sweet memories of him determinedly intact. I am off! Off to a long journey, through my past, down tiny dotted hills of hope, along the main arteries and thorough-fares of time, down a street near the bay of my youth and then finally up, up and up winding hills, past familiar steeples, schools (my oh so precious alma mata (and maybe too yours too for some of you) and picturesque parks named for 'Hero's' and some for just plain old lovely "Silver' (a passion or two for some makers of jewelry I suppose), past the wondrous community center of my youth (did you know I attended Nursery School there?) and past a precious synagogue ("Hey, I remember visiting you -with my fellow grade school classmates and a Nun too!") as I mosey on down now a street referred to as "Forest" (although there aren't many trees to speak of any more there...I pause to ponder), I pass along the deeply sloped hill where as a child I passed my teenage years away along with my friends and maybe a brother or two, past a golf course where I played one hole or two or even three when no one was looking back then, past the Boulevard called "Hart" (appropriately) for my heart is beating profusely now in rhythm with my seemingly forever journey now in high gear, past the old tennis courts, and Walbrooke Avenue...
where my dearest "late" friend "Wills" (Michael Williams) used to live. Michael died of exposure to Agent Orange during the Gulf War a few years ago - he was in the Air Force. Michael was one of my most precious beloved childhood friends and my whole family seemed to love him to (and seemed to love me even more it seemed) when Michael "Wills" was around.
Down and around the Boulevard of Bard - near a hospital named after a Saint (Vincent - a very special name in my life for two reasons, Little Vinny back then and Big Vinny K. now who became my teacher, coach, surrogate pop and friend when Stephen passed (a very wonderful and good person to take Stephen's place in my life).
Now...down, down, down I go along the straights of "Forest" till I get to the where the zoo used to be in my youth (and maybe even yours) and I am happy to say STILL IS (the Zoo that is)!
Now to be quite honest with you it is surely hard to tell that it (the Zoo) is still there though because you can't smell it all what - with the totality of the overbearing smells of fume exhaust emanating from the many cars now that roam and wind their way up and down the Avenue of Forest. I always felt as a child (and I still do now most confidently) that you can't appreciate a zoo without appreciating and absorbing the smells that emanate from it - I know it sounds like I am referring to some of my old roommates rooms and forever nasty overbearing habits but not quite! (Smile!)
Not until I get to THAT bend... can I sense I am growing near to a very important decision time in my journey through time and down the simple yet sturdy, sleek yet compassionate (especially to my frolicking feet and exasperated toes) roads of the Forest - on "THE Avenue!"
You see I must admit to you all I am an avid walker - I find walks (long ones too) very soothing and very uplifting, very scholarly, astute and mature, sometimes silly and overbearing, yet pleasing, purposeful and joyful, at times demeaning and well painful and somewhat gruesome yet kind and most healthy too.
I do some REALLY GOOD THINKING during my walks, careful to watch out for cars in crosswalks, careful not to stub my toe on a big fat stone, careful not to miss a passing cloud or two, oops I almost slipped on a wet leaf (got to watch out for wet leaves around this time of year)... "Hey...yukkkkk! !!! I just stepped in... " "Shhh...be very quiet please and listen carefully!" "Look, LOOK THERE!!
A silly chomping squirrel!!!
And over THERE!!
A cutesy munching pigeon!!!
A wandering waddling duck or two over there!"
Why it is a plopping turtle!!!!
Awwww...you just missed it shucks!" Did you ever have one of these fun Stephen Expedition Park moments? I did - lots of them! " Yup and after that he would do one of his very, very funny walks that
MADE ME LAUGH
straight out of the blue and without notice or warning - I used to think my dear sister Maureen and Mother Mary (T.) should be here to witness this one. He was so very funny sometimes when he wasn't being so very serious that is - oh boy (yikes!!) The funny thing is he never did the same walk - ever - he always had a new up his sleeve or well, down there in his pants - huh? What?...he was walking the walk, doing the Stephen Shuffle silly! Sometimes I wonder if he could conduct a choir with his nose - after all he was always... Mr. Big Shot!!!.
But my gentle sweet (most of the time anyway) GIANT of a man and brother, coach, dad? And best friend (most of the time) as well.
THE SWEET (AND SAME) SOUNDS
ON ANOTHER JOURNEY...
THROUGH THE PARK
A falling pretty leaf, a dog peaking out of a back yard (yikes), the scintillating sounds of someone sweeping, someone walking, tap, tap, tap, someone delivering mail after a long, long day - still with a hop and a bounce but with a forgiving and resigning sigh - sounds like Stephen after one of his long days doesn't it! You must admit...he sure did live!"
And I skip so, and do a minnie jog in place, a little jig - to make Stephen happy (but I don't make it as obvious as HE DID!! , um a sashay (getting better at it!) , a smile, a giggle, a laugh (some hardy, some serene, soothing and soft), a song, a melody, an old joke, the thought of an old friend, my mama, my papa
and all the Endress clan, my sister, my niece, my countless brother-in laws, then and now huh??? My favorite baseball team, a prayer, a purpose - there is a lot that goes into my walks and I am better for it and then some.
LIKE A LINE
FROM A LION
IN A FOREST
OF THE WIZARD OF OZ!
I (THIS WRITER)
ASKS YOU HUMBLY...
"WOULDN'T YA FEEL DEGRATED TO BE SEEN IN THE COMPANY OF A COWARDLY LION LIKE ME???
"Aww...da lion cub is crying now...poor little lion...it's OK, its OK all of Stephen's friends and family are here to take your hand...and ask you to come with us too...because it's the right thing to do - Stephen would agree...it's the RIGHT THING TO DO!! You see on the overall that was the point of EVERY damn THING Stephen ever uttered - he was like a philosopher - it runs in the family both ways (M-N cutesy smile).
WE GOT ALL KINDS IN THIS FAMILY
OF FRIENDS - NO PROBLEM!!
So you, you and YOU can be assured you are very welcome - after all Stephen would insist and that makes you, you and YOU a part of each step I take on my journeys. So be assured as well that the wonderful part of you that IS YOU has traveled with me down a road or two during my walks, and during my lifetime.
I guess we have a lot in common
- especially Stephen and his wonderful memory.
That's why I invited all of you today (my VERY STEPHEN MICHAEL ENDRESS LOVING READERS) to come with me on this very, very special occasion:
THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY
OF HIS PASSING
DOWN THE VERY SAME
LITTLE STEPHEN HILLS,
THROUGH THE VERY SAME
LITTLE STEPHEN PARKS
OH SO CENTRAL TO HIS HEART
SUCH AS THOSE OF HEROS,
SILVER AND CLOVE
WITH THE VERY SAME
HE EASED ON DOWN
THESE ROADS WITH
LIKE LITTLE HUMBLE munchkin ME
GO TO PART II
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